Creative Approaches to Benefits for Your Small Business

Creative Approaches to Benefits for Your Small Business


When we hear the word benefits, the first thing that usually comes to mind is insurance. After covering the cost of insurance, companies may have a hard time thinking of adding anything else to their benefits package—especially if they are a small business. While a small business may not be able to provide on-site perks that larger companies can, there are ways to boost a benefits package beyond basic insurance.

Employee Discounts

If you sell a product or service, offer a discount to employees. This has the added benefit that it could turn your employees into some of your brand’s most enthusiastic supporters—something they will most likely share with your customers. An employee discount also rewards employees for being a part of creating or selling your products or services.

A lot of businesses offer discounts to other businesses. Check with gyms in your area for membership discounts. Local attractions often offer discounts that employers can pass on to employees. You may also find another small business that wants to swap services. A local coffee shop may be willing to give free drinks to your employees in exchange for a discount on your services for their employees.

Wellness Program

Wellness programs have been gaining in popularity in the last few years. The basic idea is that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. There are fancy wellness programs that include online tracking and integrate wearable technology, but your wellness program does not have to be that extensive to be a good benefit to employees.

Bolster your wellness program with a gym membership discount. You can also organize walking groups, allow extended meal breaks so that employees can use part of their break for exercise and offer incentives for meeting basic fitness goals.

Flexible Work Schedules

Technology is making it easier to offer flexible work options. There are many ways that we can be connected to the workplace without actually being in the workplace. There are some projects where face time in the office is valuable, but there are also a lot of things employees do that could be done from an off-site location. A working parent will benefit from having the flexibility to leave work early to be there when their child gets home from school and then finishing up a report at night after their child’s bedtime.

Community Service

My last employer offered a community service benefit where employees would be paid for hours spent volunteering in the community. The company would sometimes organize volunteer opportunities for a group of employees to participate in, or employees could schedule their own volunteer activities. Employer community service programs benefit both employees and community organization. It also sends the message that your business is invested in the welfare of the community.

Incentive Programs

Benefits need not be expensive or big. An incentive program is a good way to recognize workplace achievements. Offer tokens for a job well done, and allow employees to cash in the tokens for things like movie tickets, gift cards, clothing with your company’s logo and other items. You may be able to work out a gift card exchange with another local business that has their own incentive program. An incentive program has the added benefit of giving employees feedback on their work performance.

Remember that benefits are an investment in your employees. Even simple benefits like discounts and incentives show your employees that you value their work.

What types of benefits do you offer at your company?


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Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, is the founder and director of Pacific Reentry Career Services, a Southern California nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated women find and maintain employment. She also blogs on a variety of HR topics as the HR Hammer. When not volunteering for her nonprofit, Stephanie has a day job in HR at a tech startup in Irvine, CA.


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